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560 Hay Street - Perth, WT, Australia

Situated On Historic Hay Street,
The Criterion Hotel Is Centrally Located
To Many Of Perth's Attractions
 And Business Area.
 It Is Perth's Oldest Hotel
With A License Since 1840.
The Grand Art-deco Façade
Of The Criterion Hotel Greets You
 As You Approach. When You Pass
The Impressive Doors, You Are Entering
Into A Fresh New World Of Today


 3D Animated Flags--By

   Western Australia Australian
                          Find a premier Hotel & Resort at  Hilton Hotels.   or book  Sheraton Hotels and Resorts

Australian Capital Coral Sea Island Gold Coast Jervis Bay Territory
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  Western Australia (WA) covers a third of the Australian continent; nearly the size of India, yet with less than half a percent of that country's population. Always revelling in its isolation from the more populous eastern states, WA is, like them, primarily a suburban state: three-quarters of its 1.7 million inhabitants live within 100km of Perth and almost all the rest live in communities strung along the coastline.

Perth itself retains the leisure-oriented vitality of a young city, while the port of Fremantle resonates with a largely European charm. South of Perth, the Margaret River Region 's wooded hills and trickling streams support the state's foremost wine-growing and holiday-making area. To the southeast, the giant eucalypt forests around Pemberton further soften a land fed by heavy winter rains; the state's intensively farmed wheat belt stretches to the east, an interminable man-made prairie. Along the Southern Ocean's storm-washed coastline, Albany is the primary settlement, a rejuvenated resort with the dramatic granite peaks of the Stirling Ranges just visible from its hilltop lookouts. To the east, past Esperance on the edge of the Great Australian Bight, the deserted monotony of the Nullarbor Plain extends to South Australia, while inland the Eastern Goldfields' Kalgoorlie is the sole survivor of the century-old mineral boom on which WA's prosperity was originally built. Melbourne  North Beach  Perth  Hotel Listings

While the temperate southwest of WA has been relatively tamed by colonization, the north of the state is where you'll discover the raw appeal of the bush . The virtually unpopulated eastern deserts are blanketed with spinifex and sparse communities of Aborigines, while the west coast's winds abate once you venture into the tropics north of Shark Bay , home of the amicable dolphins at Monkey Mia . From here, the mineral-rich Pilbara region fills the state's northwest shoulder with the often-overlooked gorges of the Hamersley Ranges at its core. Visitors are also discovering the submarine spectacle of the Ningaloo Reef , lapping the North West Cape's beaches - some consider it superior to Queensland's Barrier Reef.

Northeast of the Pilbara, Broome , once the world's pearling capital, is indeed a jewel in the cyclone-swept coastline of the rugged Northwest, and an ideal preliminary to the Kimberley 's wilderness and hard-won cattle country. Generally cut off by floods in the wet season, the Kimberley is regarded as Australia's last frontier, its convoluted and inaccessible coasts washed by enormous tides and inhabited only by isolated Aboriginal communities and crocodiles. On the way to the Northern Territory border, the surreal enigma of the Bungle Bungle massif is one of WA's greatest natural wonders, carefully protected by minimal development.

If you hope to explore any significant part of the state's million-and-a-half square kilometres, and in particular the remote and fascinating Northwest, your own vehicle is essential, although you'll get to the most interesting places by combining buses with local tours . Either way, WA offers an essential mix of Outback grandeur, albeit more dispersed than elsewhere, and it's beginning to attract tourists from the more popular "Eastern States", as the rest of Australia is known in these parts.

WA's climate is a seasonal mix of temperate, arid and tropical. Winters are cool in the south and very wet in the southwest corner, while in the tropics the temperature sits around 32°C but with no rain and tolerable humidity: this is the dry season. Come the summer , the enervating "Wet" (from Dec to March) washes out the north while the rest of the state, particularly inland areas, crackles in the mid-40s heat. The southern coast is the only retreat for the heatstruck, although the temperate west coast is cooled by dependable afternoon sea breezes - in Perth known as the "Fremantle Doctor".
Australia  is massive, and very sparsely peopled: in size it rivals the USA, yet its population is just over eighteen million - little more than that of the Netherlands. This is an ancient land, and often looks it: in places, it's the most eroded, denuded and driest of continents, with much of central and western Australia - the bulk of the country - overwhelmingly arid and flat. In contrast, its cities - most of which were founded as recently as the mid-nineteenth century - express a youthful energy.

The most memorable scenery is in the Outback, the vast desert in the interior of the country west of the Great Dividing Range. Here, vivid blue skies, cinnamon-red earth, deserted gorges and other striking geological features as well as bizarre wildlife comprise a unique ecology - one that has played host to the oldest surviving human culture for at least fifty thousand years.

The harshness of the interior has forced modern Australia to become a coastal country. Most of the population lives within 20km of the ocean, occupying a suburban, southeastern arc extending from southern Queensland to Adelaide. These urban Australians celebrate the typical New World values of material self-improvement through hard work and hard play, with an easy-going vitality that visitors, especially Europeans, often find refreshingly hedonistic. A sunny climate also contributes to this exuberance, with an outdoor life in which a thriving beach culture and the congenial backyard "barbie" are central.

While visitors might eventually find this Home and Away lifestyle rather prosaic, there are opportunities - particularly in the Northern Territory - to gain some experience of Australia's indigenous peoples and their culture, through visiting ancient art sites, taking tours and, less easily, making personal contact. Many Aboriginal people - especially in central Australia - have managed to maintain their traditional way of life (albeit with some modern accoutrements), speaking their own languages and living according to their law (the tjukurpa). Conversely, most Aboriginal people you'll come across in country towns and cities are victims of what is scathingly referred to as "welfare colonialism" - a disempowering system in which, supported by dole cheques and other subsidies, they often fall prey to a destructive cycle of poverty, ill-health and alcoholism. There's still a long way to go before black and white people in Australia can exist on genuinely equal terms.


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